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I was in the office today from 1:00 until 10:30, and I got an absolute ton of work done. Yay!

Someone tweeted a pointer to this article: 15 Unusual and Creative Bus Stops. Being the veteran bus rider of over six months that I now am, it of course caught my attention. Click on the above link to see them all. Here's my favorite one:

Needless to say none of the CAT bus stops are unusual or creative. Discuss.

I am just speechless over this wedding gown:

This is definitely one for my obituary collection:

In a parallel universe, Desirée Strand is planning a 54th birthday bash in Paris this July with her closest friends. In the limited dimension we inhabit, she died April 30, 2009 in Durham after years of ever-worsening multiple sclerosis (MS), blessed with dementia that made her unaware of the ravages of the disease.

Born Linda Joan Strand in Ridgecrest, California, she was a genius who defied convention. A willowy strawberry blonde, she was a talented pianist so fluent in French that Parisians never guessed she was American.

Her passion was exobiology, the study of life on other planets. She enjoyed brief success as a science writer until her career was cut short by MS. She loved Mars, and wrote in Astronomy in December 1983: “Although the existence of water in liquid form on the martian surface is highly improbable at present, that does not exclude the possibility that it may exist either as ice or water vapor.” In May 2008 elated scientists reported that the Phoenix spacecraft had found ice on Mars. In the June 1984 issue of Astronomy she warned that NASA’s decision not to sterilize the Galileo probe might result in contamination of the planet with terrestrial anaerobic bacteria. In 2003 NASA crash-landed Galileo into Jupiter to avoid the risk of contaminating Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa with earthly microbes.

She counted among her friends and colleagues Carl Sagan and Jacques Vallee (fictionalized as the character portrayed by François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Vallee granted her a rare interview which was published in the then-obscure MUFON Journal in May 1988; he liked it so much he republished it in the paperback version of his book Dimensions: a casebook of alien contact.

Linda asked to change her name to Desirée as MS began to destroy her mental functioning, perhaps memorializing the shift from the person she was. Among her last words were “MS is not me.” An important focus of her life was Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, which she practiced from her teen years until MS made her unable to recall how to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

Desirée was predeceased by her mother, Arlene Strand. She is survived by her father, Neall Strand of Durham, sisters Justine Strand of Durham and Jane Hoffman of Bremerton, Washington; nieces Hailey Hoffman of Washington, DC, Miranda Jackson and grand niece Olivia Jackson of Bremerton, Washington; brother in law Jasiel de Oliveira and nephew Jackson de Oliveira of Durham.

A memorial gathering of family and friends is tentatively planned for June. Arrangements by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas. Online condolences @

Thanks to Robert for pointing this out to me.

My blog entry containing the write-up of a "plethora of buscapdes" and my volunteer stint serving students garnered more comments than any entry I've ever written has. Robert and I had this short instant message conversation about it:

nematome: i can't believe how many comments (it's up to 16 now) that one blog entry got with the "plethora of buscapades" in it. that's definitely my most-commented-on blog entry ever.
shushaker13: love, love, love your buscapades...may be worth a reading or two at the local beatnik/poet/writer's hangouts. Or Manbites Dog! OMG, I'm brilliant, read there or have an ensemble do excerpts!!!! YES!!!
nematome: lol
nematome: thank you
nematome: we would have to find an "actah" to do them
shushaker13: a one "woman" show... maybe a bawdy drag at TPT [Trailer Park Trash Night @ Flex] to test the waters.
nematome: i could never stand up there and do that

An affirmation about my affirmations about my writing. You can't beat that! Thanks, my sweet! I appreciate your unending support of my writing!

Leaving the office at 10:30, I dropped by Flex for karaoke—not to sing, of course, but to watch and listen and to play a few games of free pool, which I did—alone. I won all three games. Not that it was a contest!

Coincidentally (or was it in the stars?), this guy was there tonight in a totally white leisure suit. I kid you not. I didn't recognize him from the last time I saw him, which was probably about a year ago now, when he was in there in a tuxedo—with a red bow, if I recall correctly.

What did make me recognize him was when he took the mic and said, "I'm going to sing this song for my partner. It's his birthday. Well, it would have been his birthday, but he died six years ago. I only sing for him twice a year, on his birthday, and on the day he died. I hope I can make it through this without breaking down."

These are the exact words he said the last time, though it might have been on the anniversary of his death rather than his birthday; I can't be sure. He proceeded to sing Tracy Bird's The Keeper of the Stars: "It was no accident, me finding you..."

My emotions were totally ambivalent about this situation:

  • Aw, that's sweet.

  • Geez, what a buzz kill.

  • I hope to god he doesn't break down up there.

  • What will the emcee do if he does?

  • However you feel about the act, you have to give the guy credit where credit is due: He has a great voice.

  • Must you do all that arm raising, eyes and palms opening and closing, and contorted facial expressions when you sing? Yes, we get that you're into it, but you're in a basement, gay bar in Raleigh, NC, singing karaoke.

  • See ya' next year.

I left there at about midnight.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
Be afraid...
Um, I'm not even sure I want to know how you came across that picture of the wedding gown! LOL

May. 5th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Be afraid...
Hehehe. I see you signed "Jay," so ignore my comment in your blog. :) Thanks for sharing a pointer to it with me! And welcome home!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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